we associate great expectations with the visit of a “good friend”
On March 20, the President of the People’s Republic of China and the leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, will visit Moscow. This is his first visit to Moscow after the start of the large-scale invasion of Ukraine.
On the eve of the visit, Russian President Vladimir Putin published an article in the largest Chinese newspaper “Renmin Zhibao” entitled “Russia and China – a partnership aimed at the future.” The article is published in Russian on the Kremlin website. In it, Putin writes that he associates “great expectations” with the upcoming negotiations. “For me, this is also a great opportunity to see a good old friend,” Putin notes, adding that “for us, a real friend is like a brother.”
As the Russian president asserts, Russian-Chinese relations now “supersede the military-political alliances of the Cold War,” and Moscow and Beijing “consistently advocate the formation of a fairer multipolar world order.” Regarding the war in Ukraine, Putin writes: “We welcome China’s readiness to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis.” According to him, “the future of the peace process depends exclusively on the readiness for a serious conversation taking into account the existing geopolitical realities.” In the war in Ukraine, Putin once again blames the West, which he blames and aspires to press on China.
Earlier, Putin’s aide Yury Ushakov claimed that an article by Xi Jinping would appear in Rossiyskaya Gazeta before the visit. As of 11:00 p.m. on March 19, Moscow time, it had not been published.
The Chinese leader’s visit was announced on March 17. He will stay in Moscow until March 22. Assistant to the Russian president, Yuriy Ushakov, emphasized that the military-technical cooperation between the countries will be discussed, and the Russian side will take part in the negotiations, with the participation of Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugaev. “Of course, the conflict in Ukraine will be discussed,” Ushakov said.
Earlier, a number of Western mass media wrote that China is considering the possibility of supplying Russia with weapons, in particular drones, artillery and ammunition. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned in February that Beijing would face consequences if it began supplying Russia with weapons. In China, such plans were denied.
In recent days, many Russian pro-Kremlin Telegram channels have been writing about the allegedly fateful nature of the visit, hinting at some agreements on China’s support for Russia in the war in Ukraine and confrontation with the West.
Beijing, however, has not made any statements that could indicate such support. China did not condemn Russia for the invasion and, in particular, did not vote for the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, but did not officially recognize the annexation of Crimea and Ukrainian regions, and also, according to media reports, made it clear to the Kremlin that the use of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable.
After negotiations of the high-ranking Chinese representative Wang Yi, first with Western leaders, and then with Putin in Moscow in February, China put forward an initiative to end the conflict in Ukraine. It mentions respect for the sovereignty and integrity of all countries, but at the same time contains a call for the lifting of sanctions and for a truce, as can be seen from the text, with the preservation of the current line of demarcation, which is unacceptable for Ukraine. Kyiv did not directly reject this initiative, but noted that it adheres to its proposals, which provide for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops.
The representative of the White House, John Kirby, noted on Sunday that during Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, the promotion of any initiatives for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine would be wrong, as it would mean the preservation of the status quo, including Russia’s territorial control over a number of Ukrainian territories.
On Friday, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin. China, like Russia, however, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court.